Johannesburg: South Africans are mourning a woman celebrated for her role in the fight against ‘Apartheid’ and for nurturing a new generation of leaders.

Crowds singing hymns and songs from the anti-apartheid era began gathering hours before Albertina Sisulu's funeral service on Saturday at a 40,000 seat football stadium in Soweto.

The service followed a week of national mourning. Officials of the governing African National Congress fanned out to every province to lead a series of memorial services.

President Jacob Zuma, who is to deliver the eulogy, declared an official funeral as close as possible to a state funeral reserved for presidents "befitting for a leader of her stature."

Sisulu collapsed and died at her Johannesburg home on June 2 at the age of 92.

(Agencies)